Feature Story

Adapting to the Digital Future

TD is working to elevate our game in the digital space to become more agile, fast and innovative. We continue to invest in many programs across the bank – here is an example of our digital evolution:

If digital is the future of banking and the global economy, then inspiring a new generation of tech visionaries is a smart investment. That’s the impetus for TD’s collaboration with Communitech, a non-profit industry-led innovation hub in Waterloo, Ontario. The city lies in the heart of a globally important technology region, with the second highest concentration of startups per capita in North America after Silicon Valley.

Communitech provides start-up mentoring, peer-to-peer networking and other services for tech companies and professionals. TD is contributing significant support to the organization and the local tech community through our lab space and funding of various Communitech initiatives.

The TD Lab The TD Lab is located within the Communitech Hub. It’s where we collaborate with local startups and work alongside innovative companies to explore new technologies for the financial services sector, with a focus on making the customer experience better. In 2015, TD Lab engaged with more than 50 startups and selected over 25 for business pitches to TD executives for consideration as potential partnership opportunities.

Programming TD is also supporting programs that promote women in technology and shape a strong tech ecosystem in Canada. Examples include:

• Women in Tech Mentorship program – a pilot initiative to mentor 25 women annually and help them develop skills and expand their networks.

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Ian McDonald is not your typical TD employee. He wears jeans. He says “cool” a lot. And he works in a funky, open-concept space at TD’s innovation lab in Waterloo, Ont., a high-energy idea factory that uses design thinking and tech know-how to help the staid, blue-chip bank harness new technology and disrupt its own operations before they’re disrupted by competitors from the startup world.

Photo credit: Anthony Reinhart/Communitech

McDonald and his team at the lab churn out hundreds of fresh ideas every month, rapidly prototyping and testing many of them within days of someone jotting down something like “develop a family allowance app.” (That notion was first discussed in spring, 2015. It’s now a downloadable Android app.)

• Code Squad – a year-long program for Grade 10 girls that launched in 2015. Through in-person events and at-home challenges, this program is designed to inspire girls to learn how to code and develop computational thinking.

• Engaging in Entrepreneurship & Engineering (E3) – a week-long camp for high school students entering Grades 11-12. The camp teaches the basics of entrepreneurship, culminating with a celebration at the Communitech Hub of the ideas developed. The 2015 camp resulted in five of the students being offered summer co-op positions at TD once they turn 18.

“It’s really cool to have banks so forward- thinking,” says Josh Hill, a computer science student doing a co-op term at TD’s lab. “My friends are like, Wow, I didn’t think working for a bank could be like that.”

(Interview used with permission from the Canadian Business Magazine)

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